Navigating the healthcare nmarketplace

You can forgive the crowd in Seneca last night if it felt it had crammed for a college final in hieroglyphics. But, no matter the question or comment, the moderators proved calm and steady as they guided about 75 people through the maze that is the new Affordable Care Act. In spite of the partial federal government shutdown the ACA, or Obamacare to its critics, kicked into law this week. It’s designed to insure the uninsured and open the marketplace to others seeking a better deal on health insurance. Ellen Warburton and Andy Foland of the navigator company DECO of Columbia attempted to explain the meat of the law and dispel myths during a 90-minute presentation at the Gignilliat Community Center. At least one Medicare recipient was pleasantly surprised to learn that, if he so chooses, he doesn’t have to make any changes in the way he now pays for medical coverage. The ACA offers subsidies to help the low income pay for coverage. It also has something for some of the healthiest members of the population. It offers assistance in paying for catastrophic coverage for those 30 years and younger. A self-employed businessman, Bobby Rettew, one of the organizers for last night’s meeting, invites anyone interested in returning today to the Gignilliat Center where assistance is available to sign up for benefits that begin to become available January 1. But it’s not necessary to make a paper application. You can apply online, though the response this week across the country has been so great that the system has been unable to handle it.